Monday, 15 November 2010

Battle of Branchage back in the news

Seeper, (the digital/interactive artists who masterminded the Battle of Branchage projections onto Gorey castle at our 2009 festival), are back in the news for a digital mapping projection they've just done in Derby.

Check out the video on BBC - they couldn't resist a few clips of the Battle of Branchage. Still looks as stunning as ever, so for the sake of reminiscence, let's see the original Battle of Branchage video again too...

Still, like, bends our minds man!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Make it snappy...

In celebration of a really lovely, creative, inspiring old competition from Picturehouse Cinemas, the Branchage office will be spending (some of) this weekend getting trigger happy with any photographic devices we can lay our sticky paws on.

Tell a story in ten pictures.  About anything you like.  So simple... but oh so very much choice.

Obviously we'll be entering the competition for purely high-minded artful reasons and the joy of creation... but as a side-note, we notice that all entries will go up online here and the three winning stories will get screened at Picturehouse cinemas across the UK, and will also win a Kodak wee small HD pocket video camera (want one want one want one).

While away some minutes at looking through the photo-stories that have already been uploaded.  Like this one, with an unexpected ending...

Ah, happy happy snappy. x

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2010

Branchage spent a wonderful 3 days at the UK's biggest (and bestest) documentary film festival last weekend, Sheffield Doc/Fest - an inspiring and timely reminder of the range, breadth, effect and joy of documentaries.

From political investigative journalism to meditative personal stories, and interactive web films to large-scale cinematic visions, Doc/Fest has it all by the bucket load, and we had a rather pleasant time paddling through as much as we could fit in.

Festival favourite was probably Benda Bilili, a music doc with an irresistible Congolese Rumba soundtrack, great characters, more triumph-over-adversity than you can shake a stick at, and not a patronising or navel-gazing scene in sight.  As well as being talented soul musicians, the members of Team Benda Bilili are disabled (mostly due to childhood polio) and living for the most part on the harsh streets of Kinshasa.  Life is brutal, recording stops because the challenges of food and shelter are more immediate, but over five years the filming continues and a brilliant first album is created.

Our Top-of-the-Pops also includes Laura Fairrie's The Battle For Barking, an astonishingly balanced look at the 8 months leading up to the May 6th elections in the Dagenham and Barking constituency, where Labour's Margaret Hodge fought an unexpectedly tough campaign against Nick Griffin and the BNP.  The filmmaker's access to both sides and her tenacious commitment to following the campaign trail makes for more insight into both parties at local level than we've ever seen before.  Wonderful, measured and very human, it was the deserved winner of the Sheffield Youth Jury Award.

Wholly different but equally unforgettable was Marwencol - the name of the model town in Mark Hogancamp's back yard populated with personalised barbie dolls and GI Joes.  This intricate and entirely absorbing miniature world was Mark's response to a traumatic attack that left him in a coma and robbed him of his memory of life before the attack, of his physical capabilities and of his confidence in himself and in the world.  By creating and photographing scenes in Marwencol, Mark can make tentative explorations of the world and of his own emotional landscape.  In life he has been brutally reminded of his mortality and limitations, but in Marwencol he is a creator as well as a participant.  It is the most original and artistic self therapy you can imagine.  We left the film full of wonder and extremely moved.

So many other excellent films (and many that we didn't manage to get to), so just a quick shout out for Donor Unknown (Jerry Rothwell), the utterly brilliant and important On the Streets (Penny Woolcock) and the beautiful and troubling short film Diary (Tim Hetherington).

AND LEST WE FORGET... Branchage patron and hero Kim Longinotto was there with her new film Pink Saris, which we are delighted to say won the festival's prestigious Special Jury Prize.

While we're on the subject of Branchage loves... also screening was Shooting Blind, the short film directed by Andrew Whitehouse, a Jersey resident and dedicated Branchage volunteer.  Huge congratulations for an excellent film which has been duly noted as so by the very excellent Doc/Fest.

Stunning weekend, heart Doc/Fest.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

2 weeks till Encounters

Only two weeks till the 16th Encounters International Film Festival...  it's an excellent programme - six days of new and established international short and animated film talent, UK premieres, workshops, industry events, awards and special guests.

16th - 21st November

Highlights of the Brief Encounters strand include the presence of the utterly brilliant Andy Serkis (right), as well as filmmakers including Ken Wardrop, Dan Geesin and Alicia Duffy.

Highlights of the Animated Encounters strand include a programme celebrating graffiti in animation and comedian Tim Minchin on 'Desert Island Flicks'.


And it's in lovely friendly Bristol.

You can't argue with that. x

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Branchage at Doc/Fest

Branchage's lead programmer, Philip Ilson Esq., will be speaking at Sheffield Doc/Fest this Saturday on the 'Screenings that Rock!' panel.

As a seasoned programmer and event producer both at Branchage and at a myriad of other filmic events including his own festival - London Short Film Festival - Philip's got a wealth of experience in how to turn a screening into an event.  He's joined on the panel by Simon Kilmurry and Jaimie D'Cruz.

All the panel events at this year's utterly brilliant Doc/Fest look unmissable, but 'Screenings that Rock!' is a real must for any independent filmmakers trying to get their films out there with tactics on how to grab an advantage over studio films and make your screening stand out.  Um, make your screening... Rock!

Full details of the panel here:

Doc/Fest film programme here:

Anyone going to Sheffield for Doc/Fest? Let us know, we'll see you there!

Only two sleeps to go! x